A stillborn baby in Israel likely died after being infected with COVID-19 passed through the mother’s placenta, local doctors say.
The country’s health ministry said the incident is the first known of its kind in Israel and rare worldwide.
The mother, who is 29-years-old, had arrived at the Assuta Hospital in Ashdod during her 25th week of pregnancy last weekend after suffering a two-day fever and other covid syymptoms, according to local media.
She tested positive for the virus, the Times of Israel reported. Her stillborn baby was tested and also had the virus.
The baby had been infected through the placenta, Dr. Tal Brosh, the hospital’s head of the infectious disease department, told Ynet news site, and there is a ‘very high degree of certainty’ that it died due to the infection.
The mother, according to the Daily Mail, said she had been careful to avoid infection. If she had been vaccinated in the first or second trimester, “this could have been avoided,” Brosh told Ynet news.
Dr. Yossi Tobin said that the incidence was a rare occurrence because the newborn infant would usually risk infection with the virus after birth, through contact with the mother. “The fact that we were able to find out that they were already positive in the womb indicates a high probability that [the fetus] died as a result of coronavirus,” Tobin was quoted by The Daily Mail.
The hospital had observed three stillbirths by women infected with the virus in the past, but this was the first time an unborn child had tested positive with the disease.